Jonathan Porretta, long an audience favorite for the fearless abandon of his technique and the irresistible charisma of his performances, will end his 20-year career with PNB at the end of this season.
If you saw Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Jonathan Porretta perform “State of Darkness,” a punishing, electric 32-minute contemporary solo set to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” you never forgot it. Likewise seared into memory: his fiery Mercutio in “Romeo et Juliette”; his powerhouse partnership with Carrie Imler in William Forsythe’s “New Suite”; the playful jazz of his pas de deux with Leta Biasucci in the “Rubies” section of George Balanchine’s “Jewels”; the swaggering, soaring joy of his sailor on leave in Jerome Robbins’ “Fancy Free,” and so many more. But dancers, like dances, can’t go on forever, much as we might wish they could. Today, PNB announced that Porretta, long an audience favorite for the fearless abandon of his technique and the irresistible charisma of his performances, will end his 20-year career with the company at the end of this season.
The reason was explained by Porretta in a statement: “For the past six years I’ve been dealing with an injury that turned into two surgeries and I was still in constant pain. It was painful just to walk. I kept it hidden as well as I could, but it’s ultimately the reason why I decided to retire. I had planned my retirement for the end of the 2019 season and just prayed that I would be able to get back on stage a few more times before that day would come. Then suddenly, on January 19, 2018, I ruptured my Achilles tendon. I know that this decision is the right one for me at this time. I have no regrets and am so incredibly fulfilled by these amazing years. The stage will always be my most favorite place and my first true love.”
A native of New Jersey, Porretta joined PNB as a teenage apprentice in 1999 and rose quickly through the ranks: promoted to corps de ballet in 2000, soloist in 2002 and principal in 2005. He’ll be seen onstage in PNB’s upcoming production of “Sleeping Beauty” in the character role of the wicked fairy Carabosse, Feb. 1-10. Porretta’s long career with PNB will be celebrated in the season’s final performance, Season Encore, on June 9. More information: pnb.org
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